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Reinstating Driving Privileges

This information is intended to provide you with a general overview of actions taken by courts and/or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend, revoke, or disqualify your driving privileges. It will also provide you with general information regarding the reinstatement of your driving privileges.

Suspension, Revocation, and/or Disqualification

Actions to suspend, revoke, or disqualify your driving privileges in the Commonwealth may be imposed by a court, the Department of Social Services, or by DMV, depending on the nature of your violations.

If you are applying for a Virginia driver's license and your driving privilege is currently suspended, revoked, or disqualified in another state, you must first comply with that state's requirements and reinstate your driving privileges there before you can obtain a Virginia license.

The following information will help you distinguish between suspensions, revocations, and disqualifications, as well as provide some examples of the offenses that may result in each type of sanction.

Suspension

A suspension is a temporary withdrawal of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Once you comply with the terms of your suspension, including all reinstatement requirements, DMV will reinstate your driver's license. A suspension may result for many different reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Failing to pay court fines and costs for convictions for motor vehicle related or non-motor vehicle related violations
  • Failing to either:
    • Properly insure and maintain insurance coverage, as required by law, on a motor vehicle that was issued valid license plates
    • OR
    • Pay the required uninsured motor vehicle fee
  • Failing to complete a driver improvement clinic
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Failure to pay jail fees
  • A court order based on a reckless driving conviction
  • Providing alcohol to a minor or intoxicated person
  • Excessive accumulation of demerit points related to convictions for traffic violations (Driver Improvement (DI) Program)
  • The presence of a physical and/or mental condition that impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle
  • Failing to satisfy an outstanding judgment related to a motor vehicle crash

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Revocation

A revocation is the complete termination of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Once you comply with the terms of your revocation, as part of your reinstatement requirements, you will be required to take all applicable knowledge and skills tests and pay for a new license. A revocation may result for various reasons, but is typically related to convictions for very serious traffic violations or criminal offenses. Revocation reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from driving a motor vehicle
  • Taking a driver's license test for another person, or appearing as another person to renew his or her license
  • Providing false information in order to obtain a driver's license
  • Non-motor vehicle related drug violations
  • Making a bomb threat
  • Felony violations in which a motor vehicle was used
  • Failure to stop and disclose your identity at the scene of a crash
  • Three demerit-point convictions for violations (including safety belt and child restraint violations) committed while under age 18

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Disqualification

A disqualification is the equivalent of a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges, if you hold a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). This action can result in the temporary or complete termination of your privilege to operate commercial motor vehicles, depending on the nature of the traffic violation(s) or criminal offense(s) that led to the disqualification. A disqualification does not affect your regular driving privileges; however, if you are convicted of a violation that does affect regular driving privileges, then your regular driving privileges may also be suspended or revoked. CDL Disqualifications are mandated by both state and federal law and are categorized into four groups:

  • Serious Offenses, which include:
    • Excessive speeding
    • Driving recklessly
    • Making improper or erratic lane changes
    • Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) without a CDL
  • Major Offenses, which include:
    • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • Leaving the scene of a crash
    • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV
  • Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Offenses, which include:
    • Failing to slow or stop, as required by law, at a railroad crossing
    • Failing to obey a traffic control device or enforcement official at a railroad crossing
    • Failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance
  • Violations of Out-of-Service Orders, which include:
    • Continuing to operate a CMV after it has been place "out-of-service" by an authorized enforcement official and determined to be a danger to public safety

Please note that CDL disqualifications can also be based on traffic violations you receive while operating a privately owned (non-commercial) motor vehicle.

You can find the current federal disqualification regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations beginning at 49 CFR §383.51. The current state statutes may be found in the Code of Virginia beginning at § 46.2-341.18.

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Reinstatement Requirements

Reinstatement requirements can vary depending on your individual circumstances. The following are examples of what may be required to reinstate your driving privileges. In some cases, you may only have one requirement, while in others, you may have several.

  • Examples of requirements that may be satisfied without appearing in person at a DMV customer service center:
    • Provide proof that court fines and costs have been paid
    • Provide DMV with an SR22 or FR44 (Certification of Insurance) from an insurance company licensed to do business in Virginia
    • Attend a driver improvement clinic
    • Provide DMV with a medical and/or vision report from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant
    • Provide proof of enrollment in, and completion of, the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)
    • Complete an intervention interview with VASAP
    • Comply with child support orders issued by the Department of Social Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement
    • Provide proof that fees owed to the local correctional facility or regional jail have been satisfied
    • Provide DMV with requested motor vehicle insurance policy information
    • Provide DMV with proof of a judgment satisfied in full, payment agreement, creditor's consent, or bankruptcy filing
    • Pay DMV reinstatement fees that can range from $40.00 to $220.00, depending on the nature of the suspension or revocation
    • Pay any applicable licensing fees
  • Examples of requirements that must be satisfied by appearing in person at a DMV customer service center:
    • Provide proof of identification, residency, and/or legal presence
    • Take any applicable knowledge and road skills tests
    • Provide a court order allowing restricted driving privileges

You may obtain your specific reinstatement requirements by requesting a personal Driver Transcript and a Compliance Summary. Use these documents to assist in reinstating your driving privileges or while discussing your requirements with a DMV representative.

Please note that the Compliance Summary is designed to be used in conjunction with a driver transcript and is not an official driving record. The compliance summary only contains information regarding orders that are currently in effect; it does not include conviction information or orders of revocation, suspension, disqualification or cancellation currently in a pending status.

You may also pay certain fees online, without the need to visit a customer service center.

If you need to obtain a new license once your driving privileges are reinstated, visit a DMV customer service center.

For more information, contact us.

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See Also

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